Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Everyone has a health care story. What's yours?

The health care reform debate is heating up fast. With the Obama Administration and policymakers in Congress poised to introduce their proposals to fix our broken health care system this summer, the time is ripe for NAPAWF members to raise our voices and be seen and heard on this critically important issue. NAPAWF wants to hear from you so we can link real world examples to the policy reforms we want Congress to make. If you have a story, please email Priscilla. We'll post your story on our blog, Warrior Prose, and may deliver your message on one of our Hill visits. Please indicate if you would like to remain anonymous when we post or share your story.

What's your health care story?

Nearly 18% of Asian American women and 24% of Native Hawaiian women are uninsured. API women are more likely than their white or male counterparts to live below the poverty line and lack employer-sponsored health coverage because many API women are employed in low-wage industries, work part-time or work for small employers that do not offer health insurance. Newly arriving Asian immigrant women also face the added burden of arbitrary waiting periods and meeting burdensome documentation requirements, while undocumented immigrant women are currently barred from all public health coverage programs. In short, API women face greater challenges accessing and affording health insurance.

Have you/your family faced a barrier to accessing affordable health insurance coverage?

If so, tell us your story.

Health insurance coverage alone does not ensure access to quality health services. The API community includes more than 30 diverse ethnic subpopulations that vary by national origin, language, culture, immigration status and economic status. As such, health services must be patient centered and take into account the impact of culture, language and gender identity at all levels of assessment, diagnosis and treatment in order to meet the needs of API women and their families. Health care reform must also invest in communities, the health care workforce and public health programs to increase the resources, diversity, distribution, cultural and linguistic competence and knowledge needed to provide quality care for all API women.

Have you/your family been dissatisfied by the quality of health care received?

If so, tell us your story.

API women need comprehensive health care services that span a woman's lifetime and address her physical, mental and dental care needs. Access to reproductive and sexual health services is a critical component to well-woman care particularly because API women experience a range of health disparities including high cervical cancer and breast cancer rates and increasing STI rates among young API women. Community-based prevention programs are also critically important to help reduce disparities. Because women in the API community already underutilize screening and counseling programs, health care reform efforts must promote community-based solutions that can help API women access safe spaces, improve health literacy, and use comprehensive family planning services.

Have you/your familiy experienced a gap in health care services due to your gender or race/ethnicity?

It so, tell us your story.

Everyone has a health care story. What's yours?

In sisterhood,


National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum | 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 506 | Takoma Park, MD 20912

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